The new Optima Chicago Center in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood is a good example of how the economy is supporting the downtown’s luxury rental market, but the rest of Cook County is not faring so well.

CHICAGO—In the past few years, this city’s downtown and many surrounding neighborhoods have noticeably transformed into hubs for luxury apartment living. Attracted by the tech jobs, among other industries, growing in the CBD, thousands of new residents have streamed into the many gleaming new towers. But that is not the story of Cook County.

According to a recent report prepared by, a nationwide apartment search website, the county has been one of the nation’s big losers in terms of population. Using the most recent US Census Bureau county-level population data, the group found that Chicago’s home county lost 290,000 residents due to domestic migration, which does not count gains from immigration or births, the second most of any county in the last five years. Only Los Angeles County, which lost a net of 381,000 people, fared worse.

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Brian J. Rogal

Brian J. Rogal is a Chicago-based freelance writer with years of experience as an investigative reporter and editor, most notably at The Chicago Reporter, where he concentrated on housing issues. He also has written extensively on alternative energy and the payments card industry for national trade publications.

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